Reno, Nev. (Vocus) September 1, 2009

Saturday, Aug. 29 marked an historic day for the City of Reno, as it played host to North America?s largest food fight. More than 5,000 people gathered at Reno?s City Plaza to dive into and throw more than 50,000 pounds of overripe, non-edible Roma tomatoes.

Participants ranging from college students to men and women in their 40s and 50s arrived at the event in costumes, tightie-whities, garbage bags and goggles. They left the event covered head-to-toe in red gunk, including the Mayors of Reno and Sparks.

The Reno Fire Department was on hand to help with the clean-up effort, hosing down participants and Reno City Plaza after the event. Waste Management provided Dumpsters, and a clean-up crew was on hand with squeegees and shovels.

Because of the success of the inaugural La Tomatina en Reno the Club Cal Neva, the event?s organizer, plans to bring it back in 2010 with twice the amount of tomatoes, 100,000 pounds or 50 tons and hopes to attract twice as many participants.

Reno Mayor, Robert Cashell, and Sparks Mayor, Geno Martini, participated in the fight. For a $ 50 donation participants were able to splat their Mayor with an overripe tomato.

?This was a great event for a great cause,? both mayors Cashell and Martini said. ?We did this to raise money for kids with cancer and it looks like some of our friends throwing tomatoes at us were having a little too much fun!?

Cashell added, ?I wanted to make sure we raised a lot of money for the American Cancer Society, even if I had to be in the receiving end of a few overripe tomatoes,? he said. ?I can not think of any other city with a sense of humor as great as ours.?

Event organizer and participant, Jeff Siri recognized the uniqueness of this event.

?Reno has done a lot of great events,? said Siri, chief executive officer of the Club Cal Neva. ?But to the best of my knowledge, no other city in North America has never seen an event quite like this one.?

A $ 10 donation was all that was required to enter the fight. Proceeds from La Tomatina en Reno benefited the American Cancer Society.

?The destination surely has a big appetite for fighting cancer,? said Ellen Oppenheim, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) president and CEO. ?We hope to see many visitors return to Reno next year to partake in this authentic and fun event!?

For downloadable images available to media from La Tomatina en Reno, please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/renotahoe/sets/72157622057143811. Select the thumbnail image you?d like to see and open the image by clicking on it. From there look for the small magnifying glass icon in the upper left corner of the image. Click on that icon and you will see a variety of image sizes available for download. Please give photo credit to RSCVA, Reno Tahoe

About the RSCVA:

The RSCVA is the primary tourism agency supporting convention and tourism business for the Reno Tahoe region. Reno Tahoe supports unlimited possibilities from outdoor recreation to 24-hour Nevada style gaming and entertainment. For more information about Reno Tahoe call 800-FOR-RENO (800-367-7366) or visit http://www.VisitRenoTahoe.com.

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